I was raised
in a home that
sat on top of a steep
hill that rolled down to the
shore of a small but perfectly
beautiful lake. It is called Diamond
Lake and for the first 19 years of living
it was my fortune to be in the ever-changing
manifestations it both provided and gave backdrop
One of the more compelling to witness, in that it
seemed so disagreeable to my nature, was ice fishing.
Sound travels with amazing clarity across a lake
that is frozen and through trees that are black-limbed
and leafless. When I would have to go outside to
burn the trash I could hear the men speaking sometimes
as though I were with them and their sticky worms,
shiny hooks and cheap beer. No cell phones dispelled
their serenity, their nearly Zen-like pursuits.
But what they said could barely pass for conversation.
Just the muttering of men who waited long hours
for a tug on a line dipped into the cold waters
of Northern Illinois.
Perhaps it was foretelling that once old enough
to be on my own I moved to a place where shivering
for luckless hours hoping to bring home an even
colder carp, (for that is what our lake had in it)
was a meteorological impossibility.
Now if I were on a lake that was stocked with any
number of other more comestible members of the Piscean
universe I might have had more understanding. But
Diamond Lake had a muddy, silt bottom that the carp
admired more than I.
One winter day the sun shone more brilliantly than
usual on the whiteness that carpeted our ice-stilled
lake. The Suns power proved near deadly to
two young boys that fished that day. It still makes
me shiver to remember pulling them out with the
arms of my outstretched coat as I lay near as I
dare to the broken edge they fell through. Fire-Rescue
men came charging to their aid just after I reeled
them in. The boys were quickly wrapped head to toe
in their stiff woolen blankets. I could hear the
sirens wailing down the two lane highway for what
seemed like forever as I walked back up our hill
and gazed out of the big window at our lake.